BERLIN - Uwe Becker, the commissioner of the Hessian federal state government for Jewish life and the fight against antisemitism in Germany, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the director of the Ruhrtriennale music and cultural festival should be dismissed for providing a platform for Israel-related antisemitism.
"Once again, the director of the Ruhrtriennale Stefanie Carp sets an anti-Israel accent and stages the defamation of the Jewish state in the guise of freedom of art and expression,” said Becker.
He added that ”Obviously Ms. Carp not only has a problem with Israel but also deliberately provides a large platform for Israel-related antisemitism. Once again, she is abusing the framework of a publicly funded festival for antisemitic enemy images toward Israel.”
Becker, who is also president of the pro-Israel NGO, the German-Israel friendship society, said “Ms. Carp should be discharged from her duties and Prof. Achille Mbembe should be disinvited from the event."
Becker’s statement is the first call for Carp’s dismissal in a widening anti-Israel scandal involving her no holds barred defense of Mbembe, who has been accused of antisemitism and trivializing the Holocaust.
Mbembe signed a petition supporting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel.
In 2018, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the festival is located, in a parliamentary resolution, banned public funds for institutions that provide BDS activists a platform and labeled BDS antismeitic.. The Ruhrtriennale receives public money.
Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, the cultural minister for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, told the Post that” I fully stand behind that state parliament resolution,” adding that the decision by Stefanie Carp to invite Prof. Achille Mbembe as opening speaker for this year's Ruhrtriennale “raises doubts” over whether she complies with the decision of the state parliament on the subject.
As a result of Carp’s alleged break with the state parliament decision, Pfeiffer-Poensgen has scheduled a supervisory board meeting of the Ruhrtriennale.”The meeting is expected to take place during the course of the take place next week,”said the minister.
Carp told the Post that “Achille Mbembe will deliver the festival speech for the Ruhrtriennale.” Carp claimed that Mbembe “not deal with Israel and the Middle East conflict.”
However, Mbembe wrote a forward for the 2015 anti-Israel book: "Apartheid Israel: The Politics of an Analogy." The South African-based academic wrote in the book that “the time has come for global isolation" of the Jewish state. Critics have accused Carp of turning the music and cultural festival into a hot bed of pro-BDS sentiments. She invited the pro-BDS band “Young Fathers" to play in 2018. When asked about Becker’s criticism of Carp, Pfeiffer-Poensgen and Carp declined to answer.Post media queries to the Governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, were not returned.